Oct. 24, 2009
Senior cross country co-captain Amanda Beggs is excited to have the BIG EAST Cross Country Championships come to Marquette for her final year as a Golden Eagle. With the support of family, friends and a trail well known, the long distance runner looks forward to the BIG EAST Championships.
With the BIG EAST Cross Country Championships being hosted by Marquette this year, what kind of mindset, as a senior, do you have going into this very challenging competition?
"We don't really have a set goal, numbers wise. I would say our goal is to beat people, which sounds simple, but going into it, the challenge is to just beat the person in front of you. It's easy to get caught up in the times and places, and in that, we forget about competing. We are just really excited to go out on a course we really know and we've trained on and compete with the teams ahead of us. It's really exciting too because the competition will be so high, and it will be fun to be around that. I am excited that my last year we get to host such a big event. It's a good way to go out with a bang, and hopefully we can do really well."
In preparation for the BIG EAST competitors coming to Wisconsin, what has practice been like? Is there anything the coaches want you to focus on more specifically than other competitions?
"We have been training just the way we normally do. This is the time of year when we start tapering in our training; we ease up on the volume and pick up on the intensity because these last potentially three races are the most important. We don't have a different mindset, but we have been going to UW-Parkside a lot more to train, and we have really gotten to learn every inch of it, which is a major advantage."
What are your expectations for yourself and your team with the Championships being on your home turf?
"For me, I am hoping that I can contribute in a way that will better our team. We have a really knit pack of our fourth through ninth runners, and so I am hoping if we can move up, we can move our entire pack up and improve. You just don't know what your numbers and times are going to be on a given day, but if you can get all your girls working hard and moving up together, I think you're going to have a really good day, and that's what we hope for."
Has the weather been an obstacle for training recently?
"This is real cross country weather. During the fall, you never know what's going to happen in late October and early November. It could be snowing, raining, you really don't know. A lot of us get excited to train in this weather because it marks the time of year that means a lot. "
As a senior and co-captain what things have you done to keep your team motivated and working hard?
"From my perspective, I have never been a top runner, I have just been contributing consistently. I think that has been my role- showcasing my consistency rather than my blazing speed. I think the other thing is that we focus on just improving a little bit every race. Those goals help to push you along through the season. It can get tiring, but little goals each meet keep you going throughout the season."
Looking back at the 2009 season, how do you think the team has performed overall?
We've performed pretty well, but we're not satisfied. We still have the big races ahead, and we really know that we have a good, solid group of girls. We just need to move our pack further up to be a player both in the BIG EAST and at Regionals. If we can work together and move all our girls up 10 to 15 seconds, we could have a good chance of really doing something special."
Tell us a little bit about your last four years at MU. What have been some major highlights and challenges
"Since coming to Marquette, like everyone, you have your ups and downs and seasons that are better than others. Coming here I didn't really know what to expect as a freshman. I just wanted to have an impact so I stepped in and tried contributing to the team. From there, I just tried giving more each season and improving, which has been exciting. It's always exciting to get the team together and work toward a common goal. The one highlight I remember was when we took fourth at NCAA Regionals my sophomore year, which was the highest we've ever placed since I've been here, which was really exciting. The second thing that is going to be exciting is hosting the BIG EAST. We are all looking forward to it being here so that all our family and friends can watch us and cheer us on. It will also give us a chance to showcase what Marquette has. We just want to show what we can do against the ultra-competitive BIG EAST schools that we will compete against."
"As far as challenges, personally, I have been injured a few times. Injuries are really common. Probably the biggest challenge for runners is staying injury-free and maintaining consistency in your training."
What are you looking forward to with the upcoming track season? Do you have any personal goals or expectations?
"I am excited to start my outdoor long distance running, to get into the 10k and really improve my times. I haven't had the chance to run. I have only ran three so I am really looking forward to lowering my time."
You've spent the last four years balancing a demanding athletic schedule and school load. How has it been being a four-year student athlete?
"I can't imagine life without it. Coming in, I had an immediate net of friends who already knew the ropes. They could tell me what was going to be expected and what to do if I missed class. That made it a really smooth transition. It was hard at times, but I couldn't imagine going through my collegiate career without a team and without running, because I love to do it. It came easy. Like with anyone, working and going to school is difficult, but it has its positives. "
Is running something you plan to do outside of college?
"I am hoping to run marathons eventually. I am excited because this is really going to be a lifelong sport for me I hope."
How will your experiences and lessons you've learned in college help you in your post-college life?
"Being part of a team you automatically learn how to cooperate and work well with people, even if you don't always see eye to eye. On a team, you have to do that else you won't succeed. That will definitely carry over to the career I pursue. Also, when you're part of a team, it's great to work together with a team who are dedicated to the same goal. You know that everybody is working for the same thing, and in most careers, it's the same way."
"As far as being a leader, I automatically have to think a little deeper about what I say and how I act. I really think about how what I do affects my team. It's a balancing act- if I have a bad day, I can't really show it because that will bleed onto the team, and that's detrimental to the team. I have really learned to represent what our team stands for and try to breed that within the rest of the team. It was a great honor to be named captain, and I was excited to take on that role because I could really help bring a balance between school and running. I am not the best runner, I am just someone who works hard and is dedicated to the sport, and it is good for the younger girls to see if they are in the same boat. I have moved up every year, and they can do the same thing."